A radio host for conservative Christian group American Family Association claims that gay-inclusive curricula is to blame for falling test scores in schools across the nation.
Sandy Rios, AFA host and Fox News contributor, discussed the topic of LGBT bullying in schools while speaking with anti-gay activist Brian Camenker during a recent segment on her show, "Sandy Rios in the Morning." Camenker is the founder of the anti-gay, pro-family group, MassResistence, according to U.K.'s PinkNews. He purports LGBT bullying is mere "propaganda" and questions if LGBT youth even exist.
On Friday, Rios read emails from listeners responding to the segment. One particular emailer vented about schools that push the "left-wing agenda" and “rob the innocence of children through forced instruction of alternate lifestyles,” according to Right Wing Watch. Rios agreed, saying "teaching... homosexuality" is the underlying cause of America's poor scholastic standing.
More from Rios, per Right Wing Watch:
It’s sad; it’s just amazing how they are throwing — whether they are teaching radical environmentalism or homosexuality. Can you imagine that they are teaching this instead of math and science? And they are. And Margaret’s right, that’s the reason our test scores are so shockingly low compared with the world.
Back in 2010, schools began to endorse anti-bullying programs in response to multiple suicides linked to anti-gay harassment. The Associated Press reported at the time that religious conservatives felt anti-bullying programs specifically referencing sexual orientation were "an unnecessary and manipulative tactic" to sway students' perception of homosexuality.
But statistics reveal that bullying is no "propaganda."
The Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN) released its 2011 National School Climate Survey in September, revealing that "81.9% of LGBT students reported being verbally harassed, 38.3% reported being physically harassed and 18.3% reported being physically assaulted at school in the past year because of their sexual orientation."
And GLSEN isn't buying Rios' theory.
“This baseless and irresponsible claim by Sandy Rios does nothing but demonstrate how out of touch she is about the reality in our schools," Andy Marra, GLSEN public relations manager, told The Huffington Post in a statement. "The fact is that an inclusive curriculum has not only been found to improve school climate, but also improve academic outcomes. We also know that other school supports like supportive educators, the presence of Gay-Straight Alliances and comprehensive anti-bullying policies are tied to improving academic achievement.”
In 2012, the Journal of School Violence published a study on the effects of a negative school climate on achievement of LGBT youth. The study revealed that "victimization contributed to lower academic outcomes and lower self-esteem." Organized school support, such as GSA groups and LGBT-inclusive curriculum, proved to create safer environments for LGBT students.